“Black Panther”, Disney-Marvel's latest outing starring Chadwick Boseman, is set to debut far above early forecasts with $210 million over the four-day President's Day weekend from 4,020 North American locations.
The barrier-breaking superhero film, set in the fictional African nation of Wakanda and featuring a nearly all-black cast, was first projected to bring in between $100 and $120 million. As its wide release date drew closer, however, tracking estimates began to balloon, and its record-breaking Thursday previews brought in $25.2 million, the largest Thursday night preview gross for a February opener and the second-largest preview gross for a Marvel film.
“Black Panther” will set the record for the largest Presidents Day weekend opening as well, bowling over the 2016 record of $152 million by “Deadpool”. The film has also done well overseas, where it has grossed around $80 million since it began screenings Tuesday in several major markets such as the UK, Hong Kong, and Taiwan.
The film centers on Boseman as King T'Challa, ruler of Wakanda, a technologically-advanced society endowed with a store of vibranim, and the conflict with Michael B Jordan's Eric Killmonger, who intends to take over the throne. Letitia Wright, Lupita Nyong'o, Angela Bassett, Danai Gurira, and Daniel Kaluuya also star in the film. Ryan Coogler directed the film on a $200 million budget, which received an A+ CinemaScore, the only Marvel film to have done so besides 2012's “The Avengers”.
In second place for the President's Day weekend is Sony's “Peter Rabbit”, which should bring in $22 million from domestic locations for the four-day weekend. The film stars the voice of James Corden as the titular rabbit, along with Margot Robbie, Elizabeth Debicki, and Daisy Ridley as Peter's sisters.
The second weekend of Universal's “Fifty Shades Freed” will nab third place with $18 million. The erotic romance stars Jamie Dornan and Dakota Johnson as Christian Grey and Anastasia Steele.
In fourth is Sony's surprise hit “Jumanji: Welcome to Jungle”, which is expected to reel in $10 million in its ninth weekend. The weekend should bring its domestic total to almost $380 million.
Clint Eastwood's “The 15:17 to Paris” is set to take fifth, with $9 million.